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Afghan 'Green-on-Blue' Attacker Named as Iranian National

Afghan policemen stand guard at site where US advisor was killed by Afghan policewoman in Kabul, December 24, 2012
Authorities in Afghanistan say that a female policewoman who killed an American contractor in Kabul this week is an Iranian national. However, they have not presented any evidence that the woman has links to militant groups, or that Iran may have orchestrated the “insider attack.”

The female police officer is being interrogated for killing Joseph Griffin, a 49-year-old American adviser to Afghan police. The shooting took place at Kabul’s police headquarters and is being described as the first known “insider” attack by a woman.

Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqi disclosed at a news conference on Tuesday that the attacker, identified as Nargis, is a native Iranian and is married to an Afghan who works at the Ministry’s criminal investigation department.

Sediqi said the policewoman illegally obtained her Afghan citizenship identification with the help of her husband before joining the national police force five years ago. He said she apparently acted alone.

The spokesman described the “mental condition” of the policewoman as “unstable” and said he has no evidence that would link her to militant groups involved in terrorist acts in Afghanistan. He said she holds an Iranian passport, but offered no evidence that Tehran was involved in the shooting.

Monday’s attack has once again raised questions about the ability of Afghan authorities to manage their country’s security after most foreign troops pull out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

“This incident shows that there are some gaps in the system and it proves that there might be many more like this particular woman who shot (to death) an American individual,” said Said Mohammad Azam, a Kabul-based political commentator and a former government official.

At least 60 coalition members have been killed in such incidents this year, referred to as “green-on-blue” attacks, and they have severely undermined trust between foreign and Afghan forces as they jointly fight the Taliban insurgency.